“What’s done is done. What’s next is next.”
This was the quote that got me through the start of this year – a brand new year where we find ourselves in a totally new place as a family. One child finished matric and going to university and our youngest has moved on to a brand new school, and not only that, but he is now a weekly boarder.

Nothing in our daily lives is as it was and we are all having to get used to lots of new things: new teachers, new facilities, new rules, new traffic patterns, driving in different directions and a totally new family routine. On some nights it’s just my husband and I at home for dinner, on others there are three of us and two nights a week we are back to the original four. I no longer get up early to make school lunches or do the school run (some of you may be green with envy but I miss it). Wow, how things have changed!

My focus in the last few months on 2013 was on preparing myself to let go as I knew what was coming. But no matter how much you prepare you head, your heart can only respond when the moment arrives. And, as with much of parenting, there are so many mixed emotions, just like the first and last days of preschool, primary or high school. Your heart could pop with pride but at the same time it can feel so gutted and sore with the pain that comes with letting go, watching them fly solo, and the wrench of endings and new beginnings.

As we all move through the various stages and demands of being parents, we have to keep reinventing ourselves and adapting to new situations and circumstances. Right now I am having to reinvent what it means to be a mum. Matthew phoned me from school the other evening and said, “Hi Mum, we have a problem. I left my blazer at tennis practice,” to which I replied, “We don’t have a problem, you have a problem.” My, how things have changed.

So, whichever stage you find yourself at in your parenting journey it is easier and far more enjoyable if you allow yourself to:

  • Be adaptable – things change constantly with children and what you did today and how you did it may be very different tomorrow
  • Be flexible – things don’t always work out how you think they will, or present as you think they ought to – be open-minded, it will help you adapt more easily
  • Be responsible – each moment of your life belongs to you and you get to choose how to spend it, so make the best choices you possibly can and then move on to the next step, whether it be a big or small one. There is great wisdom in the saying, “What’s done is done, what’s next is next,” in keeping you moving forward.

By the time my next blog comes along, both you and yours, and me and mine, will have all settled into our new routines, all our ruffled feathers will be in place again and we will most probably be swimming along smoothly as if we had been doing this for ages – until of course, the next change, stage or bend in the road comes along, as it surely does if you have children.